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Statutory Liability

Courts can issue fines and other penalties based on what is prescribed under a statute. There are statutes and rules that apply to a wide range of a company’s daily activities – from the health and safety of our employees to the obligations owed to consumer customers, to how you advertise your products. Basically any legal rule or regulation you have to follow could result in an investigation if you breach it. The following are examples of different types of statutes that could be breached:

Fair Trading Act

The Commerce Commission can bring actions for breaches of this legislation where an example includes making false claims in marketing campaigns.

Human Rights Act

The Human Rights Review Tribunal can decide on whether anti-discrimination laws have been breached. For example the case Alpine Energy Ltd v The Human Rights Review Tribunal et al in 2014 involved a claim for discrimination based on an application for employment being unsuccessful based on age.

Resource Management Act

The Act does not allow the discharging of contaminants into the environment under section 15. Penalties for offences can include fines up to $300,000.

Health and Safety

There are a large number of investigations and prosecutions by Worksafe in relation to breaches of health and safety where employees have been injured at work.

Privacy Act 2020

Under the new Privacy Act you are now mandated to notify of any privacy breaches – both to the affected parties and to the Privacy Commissioner. The Privacy Commissioner has the power to issue non-compliance penalties of up to NZ$10,000. 

Which statutes are usually excluded?

Generally criminal and transport related offences are excluded due to the moral hazard involved in covering people for these types of activities with insurance. The statutes generally excluded include Arms Act 1983, Crimes Act 1961, Aviation Crimes Act 1972, Transport Act 1962 and a number of other related acts.

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